Frieze Art Fair Is Looking to Launch in LA Next Year, According to Report

The arrival of the company on the West Coast would constitute a major shift in the international art-fair landscape.

A display of work by Marina Adams at last year's Frieze Art Fair in London. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

It appears that Frieze is headed west. The international art fair is working to launch an edition in Los Angeles in January 2019, according to a report in the newsletter In Other Words.

The news comes almost two years after Frieze entered into a strategic partnership with the Hollywood entertainment, sports, and fashion company Endeavor (formerly William Morris Endeavor | IMG). At the time, some speculated that a West Coast expansion might be inevitable considering Endeavor’s roots in LA.

Frieze, however, has remained tight-lipped about its plans. A spokesperson for the art fair told artnet News: “We are always exploring new ideas and discussing ways to respond to galleries’ needs but we can’t speak to any specific plans at this point.” He declined to comment further. A representative for Endeavor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rumors have been circulating for months that Frieze was looking for a director of a new LA fair. But it appears the company has not yet settled on an exact location for the event in the city. 

The arrival of Frieze in LA would represent a major shift in the art-fair landscape. The city is home to a growing number of collectors and plenty of deep pockets, but it has always proven a tough nut for fairs to crack.

In the past seven years alone, a number of local fairs—including Art Platform Los Angeles, Paris Photo Los Angeles, FIAC LA, and Paramount Ranch—have sprung up and then quietly shut down. Although smaller initiatives like Art Los Angeles Contemporary have attracted a dedicated following, the city has never sustained a destination art fair with the agenda-setting pull of Art Basel or Frieze.

The launch of Frieze Los Angeles would also represent the first major expansion of the brand since its partnership with Endeavor. Last month, artnet News revealed that Frieze developed, but ultimately abandoned, plans to build a cultural district in the South Bronx. Also last month, Endeavor’s subsidiary IMG announced that it had acquired Exhibitions International, a blockbuster exhibition production company.

Frieze currently operates two fairs in London and one in New York. The first London fair launched in 2003. Frieze Masters, an event focused on art made before 2000, and Frieze New York both debuted in 2012. 

While Frieze’s co-founders Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp retain the direction of Frieze, documents show they have minority stake in the brand. Tax records indicate Endeavor is a majority shareholder in Denmark Street Limited, Frieze’s offshore parent company, and controls at least twice as many shares as Sharp and Slotover combined.

A Frieze spokesperson said the company does not comment on its finances or the details of its partnership with Endeavor, but that “Matthew and Amanda remain in control of the company and Victoria Siddall is the director of Frieze Art Fairs.”

Additional reporting by Eileen Kinsella

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